Step-Parent Adoption in Colorado
A parent child relationship is very important and sometimes step-parents take on the responsibility. For example, step-parents sometimes desire to adopt step-children if there is a missing or unfit biological parent. It is important to understand the rights and responsibilities involved in step-parent adoption. To consider,
- As an adoptive parent, you gain full legal custody and responsibility for the child
- You also become financially responsible for the child
- The forfeiting parent will no longer have the right to participate in parenting time or decision-making for the child
If you are considering a step-parent adoption, it is also important to be familiar with the process. Adoption can occur either through voluntary relinquishment by the biological parent, or through termination of parental rights by a court.Requirements of Colorado Step-Parent Adoption
A biological parent can voluntarily agree to a step-parent adoption. If he or she does not, then a court can decide the issue. Courts are conservative in removing parental rights however. A court can do so with good cause when a step-parent is willing to take on parental responsibility and the biological parent has abandoned the child or is unfit to parent due to situations such as abuse, serious mental illness or long-term incarceration.
The requirements for Colorado step-parent adoption are:
- You must be at least age 21
- You must successfully complete a criminal background check.
- The biological parent must consent to the adoption or a court must terminate parental rights based on parental unfitness
- If the child is over age 12, he or she must consent
The process begins with a Petition for Adoption. After you file the petition, the court will determine whether the adoption is in the child’s best interests. It will consider factors such as family stability, the child’s emotional ties with the adoptive parent, and the child’s adjustment to a step-parent adoption situation. When considering termination of parental rights in favor of step-parent adoption in non-consent situations, a court will examine several factors, such as:
- Mental illness
- Child abuse or neglect
- Excessive use of alcohol or use of controlled substances;
- Whether a parent has maintained meaningful and regular contact with the child;
- Whether the child has recently lived with a parent for at least 180 days
- Prior dependency and neglect case determinations
- Failure to respond to the petition;
- Failure to provide regular or reasonable support
Be prepared to present proof that a step-parent adoption is in the best interests of the child if the biological parent does not consent at a hearing. The standard to terminate a parental relationship is high as public policy favors biological parental care and involvement with children. Consider what witnesses and documentary evidence you have.
If you are the parent who is being asked to revoke parental rights, make sure to attend the hearing if you do not agree. This is your opportunity to object and explain to the court why your rights should not be terminated. Make sure that you are in contact with your child and providing support if you object. If step-parent adoption is approved, the new parent will receive a newly-issued birth certificate identifying the step-parent as the child's parent.Janko Family Law - How We Can Assist
Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. We can guide you through the experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings for you. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Family Law can help ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your family are protected. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.